"Hey, didya see that?"

"No I didn't, Scout..." Miss Pauling sighed in irritation; this report wouldn't type itself. She wrote the bomb reached a final proximity of four metres from the hatch before Scout's inane giggling distracted her again.

"I got it on my nose," Scout crowed, balancing an open can of Bonk on her face and standing on one leg.

Miss Pauling ignored her and kept typing.

"Aww, Miss P, ya've been at it for hours!" Scout whined, looking at her and hopping a couple of times.

"If I have to do it for another hour, so be it. It's only..." here she glanced at the little clock on her desk. "Nine PM." She sighed and massaged her temples. "Could you get me some tea?"

The can wobbled precariously and Scout grabbed it before it fell. "I, uh, think I drank all the ah-nuh-seed tea," she said guiltily, scratching the back of her neck.

"What about the peppermint?"

"Used that too."

Miss Pauling turned around in her seat and blinked at Scout. "You actually drank the peppermint?"

"Of course not!" Scout shot back. "It smells great but tastes like nothin'!" She took a swig of Bonk as if to accommodate for the lack of taste in the tea. "I smell it until it goes cold."

"... The entire tea box?"

Scout looked from side to side and grinned sheepishly.

Miss Pauling eyeballed Scout with an are-you-seriously-kidding-me glare. Scout's mouth stretched even wider and she fell silent.

Miss Pauling sighed and turned back around, the lack of teabags further dampening her mood. Why didn't Scout just tell her they were almost finished? Then she could go buy more from the grocery store in the middle of Teufort. She sighed again and finished the sentence, typing a little slower than before.

Scout frowned and scratched her chin. "I could give ya some Bonk?" she offered, sloshing the can.
That drink was infamous among the team. How Scout could drink it in the morning and then get to sleep the same night was a complete mystery. Consuming it at night? Madness. "No, thank you," Miss Pauling declined.

Scout huffed. "A couple 'a sips?"

"No, Scout."

"A mouthful-"

"Scout, if you ask me again -"

"Alright, alright! Ya don't need to try the Bonk!" Scout cried, backing up and making little shooing motions as Miss Pauling turned and gave her a tired look designed to kill. "I'm sorry!"she said. Miss Pauling let the energy out in an irritated sigh and pinched the bridge of her nose. The report wouldn't type itself, she reminded herself, and kept going.

"Hey, Miss P..." Scout started.

"What is it now, Scout?"

"We've kind of swapped places from a couple 'a weeks ago, haven't we?"

Miss Pauling thought for a bit. It was true, her doing the paperwork and Scout trying to help. "I suppose you're right," she admitted, and then kept typing.

Scout took a good look at the other. They really had swapped places, in every way - Miss Pauling was dead on her feet.

"'Ey, Miss P. How much time off do you get?"

"One day a year," she replied calmly.

"One day a year?! One day a freaking year?!" Scout exploded. "I can barely survive a freaking week! How d'ya work for a year?!"

Miss Pauling sighed. "I manage."

"Oh no, this is not okay," Scout said. She thought for a moment, and then swooped in behind Miss Pauling, hooking her arms under her armpits and bodily lifting her out of the chair. Miss Pauling yelped in surprise, but her flailing legs and kicks-to-the-shin did little to deter Scout, who adjusted her grip into a bear hug and bodily carried the other girl out of the room.

"Scout, what are you doing?!"

"Instant vacation. Whaddya think?"

"I think you're ridiculous. Stop!"

Scout stopped walking. "Yeah?"

"Please put me down," Miss Pauling asked, keeping her head.

"Hmm... No," Scout said mischievously, starting the walk to the common room again. Miss Pauling struggled a bit more, but eventually gave up with a huff.

Spy was reclined on the couch when Scout lumbered in carrying Miss Pauling. Spy raised an eyebrow and flicked his balisong shut, the crisp, opened letter in his left hand clearly showing what it had been used for.

"What are you doing with Mademoiselle Pauling, lapin?" He asked skeptically.

"None 'a your business, fag," Scout snapped, moving to the far side of the sofa and sitting down, Miss Pauling ending up sitting on her lap. Miss Pauling sighed, choosing to grin and bear it.

"That is very hypocritical, is it not?" Spy taunted, lips curving into a smirk.

"Real funny, no it ain't. Fag. Now get outta here." Scout made a shooing motion with her head.

Spy smiled again, a little more cheekily. "Ah, you want some time alone? That is fine, but in forfeit I will tell the whole team that you two are fu-"

"MISS P IS MINE, GETTOUTTAHERE BEFORE I SMASH YER FACE IN, YOU RAT!" Scout thundered, face turning red right to the tips of her ears. Miss Pauling was almost the same. "Spy..." She began warningly.

Spy grinned and stood up, moving with the fluidity of a predatory feline. "Miss Pauling, I will speak with you later. Au revoir, lapin. I will leave you two... alone."

Scout huffed at his retreating back. "Creep," she muttered.

Miss Pauling didn't bother to correct the accuracy of Spy's insult. "What's the point of all this?" she asked instead.

"This!" Scout chirped, scooting along the sofa and falling over so that they were both lying together.
Miss Pauling flailed a little, trying to roll away, but Scout's arms wrapped themselves around her torso and prevented her from leaving.

Miss Pauling froze. What would the other mercenaries say if they saw them together like this? It was fairly obvious that something was between them, but lying on a couch...

Miss Pauling lay still, listening to Scout's breathing. There wasn't anything to it, really. Just lying here, without a care, except she really had to finish that report and if she could just slip out then-

"Nu-huh, Miss P, this is a vacation," Scout chided, pulling Miss Pauling closer like she was a small escaping kitten and wrapping all her limbs around her. "I'm the best damn vacation you'll evah see," she teased.

Miss Pauling sighed. "Scout, this breaches the limits of our-"

"Our what? Our relationship? You admit it!"

"No, Scout... our parts in the Team Fortress Organisation contract."

"Well look who wants to spoil the fun," Scout said with feigned sadness. She moved her left arm from under Miss Pauling's neck and began stroking her hair.


Scout's hand moved from the hair to press a finger to Miss Pauling's lips. It then moved back up to continue the gentle motions.

It was... rather nice. Certainly the motions were at a snail's pace for something Scout would do, and merely slightly faster than normal for everybody else. It had its own charm, Miss Pauling supposed. The hug was incredibly possessive and lacked finesse, Scout's gangly limbs wrapped about her own. She could smell the Bonk, the sweat, the blood, just like the last embrace, she could feel that speedy, steady and rhythmic heartbeat, but this time the closeness was all the sweeter - no, wait, what was she thinking, she needed to finish the-

Scout buried her nose into Miss Pauling's hair, breathing in. "You smell nice," she mumbled.

That was the final straw in Miss Pauling's mind.

She was staying.

She shifted herself in the embrace, moving her head under Scout's chin. Scout hummed happily, and trailed a lone finger down Miss Pauling's cheek, then into the hollow under her chin, and over her jugular vein, then down her shoulder and along her arm to clasp their hands together.

It wasn't so bad. Work be damned. Miss Pauling relaxed.